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The Wall Street Journal

Who Wants to Be a Ninja? Job Titles Get a Rebranding

As the workplace changes, more companies are sprucing up job titles as a way to attract talent in a tight labor market. According to a 2018 survey by executive compensation consulting firm Pearl Meyer, 40% of firms said they use titles to attract prospective employees, up from 31% in 2009.

In the aftermath of the global recession a decade ago, many firms tried to sweeten job offers through title inflation, tacking on words like “executive” or “vice president” in lieu of more cash. These days, said Rebecca Toman, vice president of Pearl Meyer’s survey business unit, firms are using titles to show “you can have an impact or make a difference,” especially for younger workers.

Expect more companies to allow employees a say in what their titles ultimately look like, experts say. According to Pearl Meyer’s survey, 6% of firms give employees wide latitude in establishing their working title, up from 3.6% in 2009.

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